The Epidemic of Texting While Driving

Audrey Wilson, Centurion Staff

Texting while driving is an ongoing crisis that causes numerous preventable deaths each day but, there are many apps that can help curb these problems.
According to TeenSafe, an iOS compatible subscription service for parents of young drivers that disables the driver’s phone, texting while driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence. It claims the lives of 11 teens each day, and causes 6,000 deaths annually.
Some students at Bucks have admitted to cell phone use while driving.
“I have to admit I use my phone quite a lot while driving,” said Peter Harris, 19, a Health Science major. “I’ve become so use to it that it’s one of those things that I don’t even realize I’m doing until I have to brake really hard because I wasn’t paying attention”.
The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year, and nearly 390,000 injuries occur.
“I wouldn’t say I never look at my phone while driving,” said Kelly Rhodes, 24, an English major. “I occasionally glance at my phone to change a song or just see if I have any notifications. I think we all have the mindset ‘it won’t happen to me.’”.
Texting is the most alarming distraction. Taking your eyes off the road to send or read a text message for five seconds at 55 mph, is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
To help curb the texting while driving crisis, several apps such as the aforementioned TeenSafe, have been developed to promote safer driving.
One of the more popular apps is AT&T’s DriveMode. Similar to TeenSafe, it silences incoming alerts and phone calls, and automatically replies that you are driving. In addition, it notifies parents when DriveMode is turned off, or if auto mode is disabled.
Another app is “On My Way”, that pays drivers 5 cents for every mile driven without texting, receiving mixed reviews.
The Department of Transportation is funding programs in California, and Delaware to test the impact of increased law enforcement coupled with educational campaigns for distracted driving.
Students seem to realize that texting while driving is wrong and maybe the apps will be helpful to prevent more deaths from occurring. Hopefully with the new information coming out about the multiple deaths per year, people will be more cautious before looking at their phone.